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even destroying a cooling tower. to show its commitment to a now-shattered deal with the u.s. >> if they restart their nuclear facility, at yongbyon, that is in direct violation of their international obligations, and would be a very serious step. >> reporter: but kim jong-un shows no sign that he's even listening to the outside world. north korea is making it clear it has no intention of giving up its nuclear weapons. in fact, it wants to develop them. the question being asked here is how do you deter a nation that believes, because of its nuclear arsenal, it doesn't need to compromise? it would be a mistake to dismiss kim as a mere boy emperor, stomping his feet. his country has been described as a giant cult, worshipping three generations of a single family for more than six decades. kim jong-un, his father, and his father.
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the ruling philosophy, military first. an undefeatable military is essential. rivals bent on its destruction must be opposed. >> people think north korea is unpredictable. it's very predictable. it's very power driven, exploitably intolerant, uncompromising, type of view. >> reporter: north korea lives on this philosophy, and not much else. it's desperately poor. famine ravages the countryside. the capital is a modern-looking city of more than 3 million. but fly over pyongyang using google earth and you see streets nearly empty, hardly any cars. and yet north korea maintains the world's fourth largest military. the north korean regime's legitimacy is faced with the almost god-like worship of its leader and some here wonder if kim jong-un knows where the myth stops and reality begins. brian? >> richard engel starting us off again tonight in seoul, south korea. richard, thanks. this brings us to our chief
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foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell in our washington newsroom. andrea, the question remains the same, is it not true at the end of the day that the best folks we've got, the best analysts, are really at a loss, when it comes down to is he serious or not? >> and the amazing thing about that is that this goes back decades. i was struck today by the fact that the secretary of state john kerry very forcefully says, we will not let north korea become a nuclear nation. but there standing next to the south korean foreign minister at the state department, he's saying something that is patently impossible. it's a red line that's already been crossed. north korea became a nuclear power when bill clinton was president. bill clinton tried negotiating. george w. bush tried the tough line, then tried negotiating. and nothing has worked. in fact, we have sent them fuel,
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sent them food, in exchange for them blowing up that reactor that's the cooling tower. and now we've seen they're ready to restart it. or at least they claim they will. this is a real fear and it's a fear of proliferation because south korea and japan are talking about trying to get nuclear weapons. >> that's what makes this situation so dangerous. andrea mitchell part of our coverage tonight. andrea, thanks. back here at home double-edged sword on the u.s. economy tonight, promising signs of life that millions of americans aren't feeling yet. but we can say there are more indicators that conditions are turning around. first, there's wall street. today the dow and the s&p both set record highs. an up day across the board, in fact. but there's also spending to look at. it's always good for the american economy when people start buying cars. nearly 1.5 million cars and trucks were sold in the month of march. that's the most in almost six
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years. and there are other signs. nbc's tom costello is at a ford dealership in vienna, virginia, tonight. tom, good evening. >> hi, brian. ford sales up 6% in march. customers drawn in by those shiny new cars and suvs and trucks, low interest rates, and some statistics that suggest the economy really has found firmer ground. today's signs of economic recovery are right there in the headlights. auto sales in march the best in six years. ford, chrysler, toyota, gm, and nissan, all reporting strong sales. truck and suv sales especially strong. cnbc's phil lebeau. >> this is not something where the automakers are goosing the market with outrageous incentives. this is people coming into showrooms and saying i need a new car or truck and this is the time to buy. >> reporter: the average car on the road today is more than 11 years old. something else helping the economy, gas prices down 30 cents from a year ago. and while many areas of the country are still struggling
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with real estate foreclosures, and decreased home equity, the overall housing market seems to be recovering. existing home sales now at their highest pace since 2006. among the cities showing the most improvement, denver. >> in this neighborhood i would expect properties to go under contract within a week. >> reporter: where ty docken is a realtor working one of the hottest areas of the city. >> buyers need to be ready to jump on a property when they find it. if they think about it, that property will be gone. sellers need to be ready to move when they put the sign in the yard. >> reporter: with many cities now facing a shortage of new homes, construction is slowly starting to pick up. and that means jobs. and then there's the stock market. many investors worry it's gone too far, too fast. up 11% this year. and trading at all-time highs. but is that yet another sign the economy has turned a corner? >> the economy has turned a corner, and we're doing much better than we were with more
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ability to keep moving forward. that said, there's still speed bumps ahead. most notably, the fiscal drag associated with the sequester. >> reporter: yeah, the concern is that the sequester could put some brakes on the economy, and the economic recovery. meanwhile, there's a lot of concern that all this money that's floating out with low interest rates could be yet another bubble waiting to burst. but 12 million people, brian, remain unemployed. we'll get the latest unemployment numbers on friday. back to you. >> tom costello in vienna, virginia. thanks. tonight lawmakers in the state of connecticut, which, of course, has the sad distinction of being home state to the tragedy in newtown, say they have reached a deal on legislation that would amount to some of the toughest gun laws in the country. it includes a ban on high-capacity magazines, and universal background checks. meantime, in washington, the momentum to do something similar appears to have run out. and tonight a group sponsored by
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the nra is out with an expanded recommendation for schools across the country to arm themselves. our report tonight from our justice correspondent pete williams. >> reporter: after studying school safety, in response to december's shooting in connecticut, the group funded by the nra said every school should consider having someone inside with a gun to be able to respond more quickly to an armed intruder. >> if you have the firearm on the presence of someone in the school that can reduce the response time, it will save lives. that is the objective. >> reporter: today's report said local school districts should decide for themselves whether to arm their personnel. and that some may choose not to, especially those that can afford other kinds of security, like metal detectors. the report says it's not teachers who should be armed, but a staff member designated by school administrators, then given 40 to 60 hours of training. but hutchinson, who stressed that his group works independently from the nra, said more gun control is not the answer. >> you can address assault weapons, and it doesn't stop someone bringing in a .45 caliber firearm into the school. >> reporter: endorsing today's recommendations, mark mattioli, whose 6-year-old son james was killed in the connecticut shooting. >> i think politics needs to sort of be set aside here and i hope this doesn't, you know,
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lead to name calling. >> reporter: the nation's largest teachers union today said both teachers and parents are against arming school officials. >> that's not what they believe should happen in schools. they want a safe learning environment. parents don't want their kindergartner to pass someone with a gun on their way to class. >> reporter: the report recommends that schools assess their own safety and develop a security plan, something it says most schools lack. pete williams, nbc news, washington. at the white house today, president obama announced a major research project to unlock the mysteries of the human brain. the $100 million initiative would fund pure scientific research and produce leads toward treating brain disorders from autism and strokes to alzheimer's. scientists say they welcome the chance to spend money on research at a time when science budgets are getting squeezed. but it's not clear whether congress will actually approve
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this spending. the state attorney general in arkansas is now investigating the break of an exxon mobil pipeline that sent thousands of gallons of crude oil flowing down the street into a residential neighborhood over easter weekend. the leak is bringing a lot of attention to our national network of pipelines, and re-igniting debate over another notable pipeline project. our report tonight from our chief environmental affairs correspondent anne thompson. >> reporter: from the air, it looks like a dark stain on this neighborhood. 20 miles north of little rock. >> the smell is unbelievable. i mean, look. incredible. and that is oil. >> reporter: exxon mobil shut down the 65-year-old pipeline, insisting age did not play a role in the rupture. >> the age of the pipeline does not determine its integrity. the process is you inspect it. when you find issues, you repair those issues. our inspection process is up to date. >> reporter: shannon williams is one of 22 homeowners who still can't return to their houses. he says he had no idea the house
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he built for his wife and three children was so close to an oil pipeline. >> and we wanted to just stay in our home. we couldn't. i was in there for maybe ten minutes max, grabbing additional items and my head began to hurt from the fumes. i wouldn't dare take my children into that. >> reporter: booms hold back the oil from a popular fishing lake but some birds have been harmed. over 100,000 miles of oil pipelines crisscross this country. this oil is heavy crude from alberta, canada. piped in to illinois, then sent to texas. it's similar to what spilled in the kalamazoo river almost three years ago and is still being cleaned up. and similar to what could be carried in the proposed keystone pipeline extension across a wide swath of america's heartland. some environmentalists hope this spill will convince president obama to reject keystone. >> the oil itself is thicker and nastier, so when it spills it's going to be harder to clean up. >> reporter: last week we were up in alberta, canada, where the keystone oil would come from.
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producers insist it is no more dangerous to the environment than california's heavy crude. >> it's absolutely a red herring. we've been transporting this oil by pipeline for 40 years now to alberta with no problems. >> reporter: now this spill is very small compared to the bp disaster in the gulf. we're talking 12,000 barrels of oil and water recovered in arkansas. versus the 55,000 barrels a day that gushed from the damaged well. but its political impact could be very big, brian. >> anne thompson reporting on the spill for us tonight. anne, thanks. still ahead for us this evening, hard to believe it is already under way, but some people have already been hit badly by what we knew to be a nasty allergy season. tonight we have the forecast ahead. and later, during a big day at the white house, the first lady gets to honor one of her own heroes.
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on our website tonight we have posted a brand-new list ranking the areas of the country
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that are the worst for people with seasonal allergies. of course, there's still snow on the ground in a lot of places, and in others people are already suffering from what we were warned would be a mean allergy season. our report tonight from our chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman. >> reporter: it's that time of year again. for suburban atlanta resident kimone duncan the coughing and itchiness that come with spring allergies are intense. >> oh, my gosh, it's death to me because i'm like oh, my gosh, i just want to have like -- put something over my face. >> reporter: at the atlanta allergy and asthma clinic, it's busy. >> we are definitely seeing more patients having difficulty with these higher tree pollen counts. >> reporter: from here to the cherry blossoms in washington, d.c., rising temperatures mean pollen from trees and flowering plants, and allergists say this will likely be a bad season. >> we're seeing earlier spring season, and late-ending fall seasons. this is problematic in certain parts of the country, in
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particular where the pollen season starts as early as january. >> reporter: every year, allergists rank the most difficult places to live if you have spring allergies. the worst city this year, jackson, mississippi. but northern cities are increasingly on the list. with buffalo, new york and detroit, michigan, in the top 30. some are pointing to climate change. one study last yearlinged the nation's rising temperatures to increased pollen counts, and a longer allergy season. >> rising temperatures also lead to a later end in allergy season. and this is the time of year we really see the pollen count go up. and in the southeast so far this year, it has been wet, and that leads to more plant growth. >> reporter: experts recommend for those suffering to see an allergist now, before the season gets worse. and to help diminish symptoms, take your run in the morning, shower at day's end to get rid of pollen on hair and clothes and keep windows closed and pets indoors. bracing for an allergy season even before it heats up.
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dr. nancy snyderman, nbc news, new york. we are back in a moment with the growing outrage tonight at a major university after the release of an explosive piece of video.
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so far, it's just computer animation but this is what it will look like when the world trade center, and that's what they're calling it, opens the new observation deck over new york in 2015. during a media preview today, look at that, cameras captured the actual view. but it's still a construction zone high above lower manhattan. will be for some time. we are still not going to show you what happened to him. except to show you that kevin ware, the louisville basketball player, whose gruesome broken leg was seen by a live tv audience easter sunday, showed up today at the practice facility to cheer on his team as he begins his recovery. a huge controversy is erupting tonight after espn broke a huge story. has to do with the rutgers head basketball coach mike rice, who
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is seen on video from practice sessions striking and tossing around his players, swearing at them, throwing basketballs at home, among other things. last year he was suspended and fined for his behavior, but it was simply defined then, as inappropriate at the time. this video has already ignited a pr nightmare for rutgers basketball. tonight the scarlet knights athletic director told our station here in new york, wnbc, that the coach's behavior was unacceptable and deserves a full investigation. even new jersey governor chris christie tonight condemned the behavior of the coach at rutgers. an emotional day at the white house today, hosted by the first lady, and combining film and history, and the release of the upcoming film called "42" about jackie robinson. appearing beneath president lincoln's portrait and alongside the stars of the film, the always elegant rachel robinson, now 90 years old, talked about change and our current times. >> we have made great social progress in america. but we still have a lot of work
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to do. we're not there yet. it's not a perfect world. >> again, 90 years old. jackie robinson's widow rachel robinson among those at the white house today. up next here tonight, a hollywood star, and an all-around good guy making a difference with a fresh idea in the place he calls home.
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time for our "making a difference report tonight starring a familiar face to many people, the actor wendell pierce, a proud new orleans native who has taken on a decidedly unhollywood role in his hometown. he's helping the economy and giving folks a chance to live better and making a difference. his story tonight from nbc's ron mott in new orleans. >> we get it now. >> reporter: he's played a homicide detective in "the wire." >> you're my witness, huh? >> reporter: and a musician. now wendell pierce is a high profile foodie in food centric new orleans. a reallife role bringing action to his hometown, launching a chain of grocery and convenience stores. >> i'm glad that they have those things in here. >> reporter: in places where fresh food can be hard to find. >> i said to my partners, the opportunity to do well and do
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good. so let's -- let's go into the grocery store business. and that's how sterling farms was born. this is my house where i grew up. >> reporter: after katrina flooded his childhood home, where his dad still lives, the actor got busy rebuilding pontchartrain park. >> this is one of our homes over here. >> reporter: among the country's first middle-class enclaves for blacks. but critical services like grocery stores, remain elusive. a glaring problem pierce wants to solve, adding scores of jobs in the process. >> he's a roll up your sleeves kind of leader. he is not just our typical celebrity pretty face who just threw some money at a deal. >> reporter: sterling farms is opening in what's called a food desert. a neighborhood where it's over a mile to the nearest supermarket selling fresh food. it's something seen over the country but is especially pronounced here in new orleans where there's a lack of private transportation. he's addressing that, too. >> do you need a ride home with your groceries?
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>> reporter: free rides for those spending at least $50. >> that's why we need private enterprises like wendell pierce's and his partners, to fill that gap. to move into neighborhoods where there is demand for food, but there's nobody supplying it. >> right here in this neighborhood, right down the street from me, i'm very excited. >> reporter: a simple goal for a complex issue. >> the most important thing to me is creating a relationship with the community. creating an economic engine an an opportunity for them just to have access to a decent grocery store. >> reporter: a shopping success so far. >> welcome to the neighborhood. >> reporter: ron mott, nbc news, new orleans. well done, wendell. that's our broadcast on a tuesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. and of course we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night.
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with breaking news. >> i'm raj mathai. >> and i'm janelle wang in for jessica aguirre. the breaking news is happening in palo alto right now at 826 boyce avenue where a car has crashed into a home. it is just east of downtown palo al alto. police tell us an elderly man was driving this white suv when he crashed into this home. he also hit somebody on the front lawn. that person has reportedly been hit and taken to the hospital. no word on his condition as of yet. we have been told this home was scheduled for demolition. our chopper is over the scene and we'll keep you posted on any new developments. tomorrow president obama will arrive in the bay area. tonight he is willing to make a $100 million investment to learn why we do what we do. the goal is to map the human
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brain. as you might expect the bay area is set to lead the charge. scott budman joins us now to explain. >> the research into how our brain works is being called brain mapping. think of it as the next wave of health related research given a big boost by the obama administration and it has local scientists looking to a brighter future. >> reporter: clicking away inside a stanford neurological lab this tool is about to get a whole lot more attention now that washington is getting involved. >> as humans can identify galaxies light years away. we can study particles smaller than atoms but we haven't unliked the mystery of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears. >> reporter: a $100 million
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initiative to learn about how the brain works and to help us better fight neurological diseases. >> it is encouraging for those of us who are working hard on mapping brains. >> reporter: which brings us back to stanford. they have been working on brain research for years here and look forward to the federal boost, not to mention the new technology it will likely bring them, an apt metaphor for the brain itself. >> one human brain is about the same order as the entire global internet, and throw in all of the cell phones and systems while you are at it. >> reporter: our brains are amazingly complex things and to learn about them is to learn what makes us tick. >> the $100

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